Discover seven essential accessibility tips to enhance your e-commerce business, ensuring inclusivity and improved user experience for all customers.
E-commerce has become a cornerstone of the global economy in today’s digital era. Furthermore with increasing online transactions businesses must ensure their website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.
Accessibility is not only a legal requirement but also a moral responsibility. In fact, it allows individuals with disabilities to engage and benefit from the products and services offered by e-commerce businesses.
And so, whether you’re a seasoned e-commerce entrepreneur or just starting out, these tips will provide valuable insights. They will help you to make your online platform more accessible and user-friendly for a diverse customer base.
Common Accessibility Errors in E-commerce business websites
Normally many people with disabilities encounter errors on a e-commerce business website. Here are some common errors to watch out for:
Lack of Alt Text for Images in e-commerce business
One common accessibility error in e-commerce is the absence or improper use of alternative text (alt text) for images. Alt text is a text description of an image, essential for individuals with visual impairments who use screen readers. If alt text is missing or not descriptive, visually impaired users cannot understand the content and context of the images. This makes it difficult for them to fully engage with the e-commerce website.
Inaccessible Forms and Input Fields in e-commerce business
Another common accessibility issue in e-commerce is the presence of inaccessible forms and input fields. Forms play a crucial role in online transactions, such as creating accounts, placing orders, and providing customer information.
When forms are not properly labeled, structured, or compatible with assistive technologies, they become barriers for individuals with disabilities. This can lead to frustration and exclusion, preventing them from completing their purchases or accessing important information.
Non-compliant Color Contrast in e-commerce business
Color contrast is essential for users with visual impairments or color deficiencies to perceive and distinguish content on a website. E-commerce platforms often use various colors to highlight important information, buttons, and links.
Poor color contrast between foreground and background makes it difficult to read the text or discern the interactive elements. Non-compliant color contrast negatively impacts the user experience. And hinders users with disabilities from effectively navigating and engaging with an e-commerce website.
7 Tips for E-commerce Business Website Accessibility
As was previously stated, creating an accessible website can be a challenging effort. However, there are some changes available through which you can attempt to make your E-commerce website accessible.
Captchas, designed to protect websites from bots and AI, pose challenges for users relying on screen readers or assistive technologies. The complexity has increased, making them harder for AI to crack. In addition, it has also made it difficult for visually impaired individuals to navigate and complete purchases on the website.
Though audio Captchas offer an alternative, they too present accessibility challenges. Reduce your reliance on Captchas and explore other methods. Either form completion or implementing server-side AI to filter spam bots and Internet provider addresses.
Providing Assistance for Form Inputs
To ensure accessibility, it’s important to make form inputs clear and understandable. Also notify users of any errors while also offering solutions. Using an asterisk (*) to indicate required fields can confuse users relying on screen readers or assistive technologies. The screen readers will simply read the asterisk out aloud. Instead, marking a field as required in the HTML code does not require the asterisk.
Additionally, consider where to display error indications on the form. A small line at the top or bottom, will be cut off from the user’s screen. On the other hand, provide text that explains to the user how to fix the specific error. This information will be automatically read by screen readers. Similar to carousels, it’s important to ensure that screen updates do not disrupt keyboard navigation.
Ensuring Appropriate Colors for Accessibility
It’s important to consider the right colors on your website to make it accessible for everyone. Statistics from Color Blind awareness show that around 300 million people worldwide experience color blindness. Therefore, if your website relies heavily on color as a primary element, it can become inaccessible for people with disabilities. It’s a good idea to seek expert assistance and guidance for more complex websites. This ensures better accessibility for a wider range of users.
Using Captions and Transcripts for Accessibility
Including captions and transcripts in your videos can make them easier to follow, especially for people with hearing difficulties. Open captions can be directly embedded in the video. And closed captions can be provided through a separate text file for screen readers and visually impaired individuals. Providing a separate transcript that contains the full text of the video is an effective way to enhance accessibility. Transcripts are also helpful for people who prefer reading text instead of watching a video.
There are media players like Able Player that automatically generate transcripts from closed captions, simplifying the process. Additionally, providing spoken audio descriptions alongside the video can help disabled users understand the visual content. Remember to make these features accessible to all users if your website uses a video player. It ensures compliance with ADA and accessibility standards. Include clear controls, pause functionality, and use high-contrast colors to facilitate an inclusive viewing experience.
Retaining Customers on Your Website
Affiliate links can be confusing as they redirect users to a different website, taking them away from your own site. For example, sending users to a flashy commercial site can create a disorienting and stressful experience. To improve accessibility, it is recommended to carefully consider where these links lead.
People with disabilities rely on screen readers to navigate websites using the tab key to move around the page. When they encounter affiliate links, it slows down their navigation process. Allowing users to skip links can speed up the browsing experience.
Ensure Inclusive Video Content with Extended Audio Descriptions
When featuring videos, it’s important to ensure accessibility for those who are visually impaired or have cognitive disabilities. One way to achieve this is by providing audio descriptions alongside the video. Audio descriptions enable people with disabilities to understand the visual information and details presented in the video.
In some cases, the pauses within the video’s audio may not be enough to convey the necessary visual descriptions. This is where the need for extended audio descriptions becomes crucial. By incorporating extended audio descriptions, you can ensure a comprehensive and inclusive experience for all users, regardless of their abilities.
Enabling Keyboard Navigation for Web Design
It’s important to recognize that not all e-commerce business website visitors rely on a mouse for navigation. Some users solely rely on the keyboard to browse through websites. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your website incorporates keyboard-friendly design. This allows users to navigate and find the products they are searching for without relying on a mouse.
By implementing keyboard navigation, you make it easier for individuals who may have motor disabilities or prefer keyboard-based navigation. This inclusive approach ensures a smooth and seamless browsing experience for all users, regardless of their preferred method of navigation.
Three advantages of an accessible E-commerce business website
Expanded Customer Base
A major advantage of an accessible e-commerce website is the ability to reach and engage with a broader customer base. By ensuring accessibility, you make your website usable for individuals with disabilities, who represent a significant portion of the population. This includes people with visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. An accessible site allows a seamless user experience, retain more customers, leading to increased sales and business growth.
Improved User Experience
An accessible e-commerce website creates a better user experience for all customers, not just those with disabilities. Accessibility features, such as clear navigation enhance usability and make it easier for users to find and purchase products.
Additionally, accessible design principles prioritize simplicity, clarity, and intuitive functionality. Naturally a positive experience ensures customers return. Also it is likely they recommend your business to others, and establish a long-term relationship with your brand.
Compliance with Legal and Ethical Standards
Creating an accessible e-commerce website is not only a moral responsibility but also a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. Laws and regulations, such as the ADA and WCAG require you to make your websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.
You must be proactive, to ensure compliance and mitigate the risk of legal issues and potential lawsuits. Moreover, accessibility demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility. You demonstrate your commitment to customer-centric values, enhancing your brand reputation and credibility in the market.
E-commerce business that implements accessibility creates an inclusive and seamless online shopping experience for all users.
By following these seven tips for your e-commerce business, you can cater to a wider customer base. Prioritizing accessibility demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity. It also opens up new avenues for growth and success in your ecommerce business.
Additionally, you can create a more inclusive online environment and foster positive relationships with customers. And ultimately leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction in your e-commerce business.